Category Archives: Slaves of Golconda

“A bourgeois tragedy”: Honoré de Balzac, Eugénie Grandet

Using the hashtag #IHaveNeverRead, Penguin UK recently urged people on Twitter to “confess” their “shocking literary shortcomings” — an exercise in weirdly inverted snobbery that inevitably recalls David Lodge’s game ‘Humiliation‘. I’m actually less and less humiliated by the vast array of titles (classic or otherwise) that I haven’t read: there are just so many books, […]

“Defying Man and Storm”: Daphne du Maurier, Jamaica Inn

I’m no connoisseur of romantic suspense, but it’s hard to imagine it being done better than Jamaica Inn. Really, this book has it all: a grim, windswept, yet beautiful landscape; a grim, brooding, yet charismatic villain; a grim, twisted, yet convincing plot; Jamaica Inn itself, “a house that reeked of evil . . . a solitary […]

How human! Giuseppe di Lampedusa, The Leopard

Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s singular classic The Leopard is the latest book for the Slaves of Golconda reading group. Three other readers have already posted their thoughts, and having read their interesting remarks I find myself wondering what I have to add! They’ve all mentioned aspects of the book that I was also interested in. Alex, for instance, stresses […]

Diana Athill, Stet: On Angela Thirkell, Virginia Woolf, and the Embarrassment of Caste

This month’s reading for the Slaves of Golconda group was Diana Athill’s briskly evocative memoir Stet, about her decades-long career in publishing. Other folks have been putting up their smart and detailed posts, and you should hop on over and read them if you haven’t visited already. Partly because I’m tired and busy, and partly because […]

“Why did not anything do?” Rose Macaulay, Crewe Train

Crewe Train is the first novel by Rose Macaulay I’ve read. I can’t decide if it makes me want to read another! It was easy to read: the prose is brisk, the tone is lightly satirical, the characters and incidents are quirky but mostly engaging. It has something of the flat quality I’ve noticed in […]

Willa Cather, My Mortal Enemy

My Mortal Enemy is an unlikely choice for my first experience of Willa Cather – it’s obscure enough that the Americanist colleague I hit up for a copy to borrow not only didn’t have it and hadn’t read it, but hadn’t even heard of it, and the only copy in our university library is a 1926 […]

Slaves of Golconda: Voting Has Begun

I was tagged to put up the shortlist for the next book choice of the Slaves of Golconda (“mining literature for pure gems”): any of you who are already participants should head on over and indicate your preference. It’s a pretty miscellaneous list: Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn, Shirley Hazzard’s The Transit of Venus, Laurence Cossé’s A […]

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